The Geriatric Giant of Gujarat:  Enter the Age of Mega Monuments

What silly creatures we humans are.  Each of us has his or her own strengths and weaknesses.  We are all unique, a mixture of redeeming qualities and unfortunate faults.  And yet, we single out a rare few to be elevated and exalted beyond all measure.  It isn’t the scientists, or the explorers, or the movie stars, or the athletes who we immortalize.   Rather it’s the mundane we lionize.  We have entered the age of Mega Monuments. 

Step aside Colossus of Rhodes.  Take a seat Lady Liberty.  Mighty Mt. Rushmore would be but a puny plaything besides the Geriatric Giant of Gujarat.  Even the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza would be dwarfed reaching only to the lower ribcage.  If sperm whales built monuments to each other they’d be tiny in comparison.   To give you some idea of the mind numbing size of this bedraggled behemoth, if he was standing behind the counter of the local 7-Eleven offering you a super-sized slurpee that slurpee would be the size of a ten story building.  I apologize if I’m being racist but that’s the image that comes to mind.   

The Geriatric Giant is formally known as The Statue of Unity.  But if this rumpled monstrosity celebrates Unity shouldn’t there be more than one person?  Unless the old man is schizophrenic, or suffering from multiple personality disorder, who exactly is he being united with?   It’s like a solo rendition of the song, We Are the World.   

Unhappy Pappy the stooped old man with the sagging jawline is none other than Vallabhbhai Patel who stood five foot zero inches on a good day.   If the name doesn’t ring a bell you’re not alone.  I didn’t recognize it either.   To get some idea of who he was I did a google search for notable quotes and found this:   

Manpower without Unity is not a strength unless it is harmonized and united properly, then it becomes a spiritual power.

Maybe it lost something in translation but that statement doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.  Worse yet I have no idea at all of what it means.  Wouldn’t spiritual power be nonmaterial by its very nature?  Perhaps Mr. Vallabhbhai Patel left us other more practical pearls of wisdom.  He’s also quoted as saying:

Homoeopathy is supposed to work miracles.

This is a truly moronic statement.   Homoeopathy is snake oil and is endorsed only by quacks and charlatans.  Let’s move on to another quote shall we.  Third time’s the charm, they say.

Even if we lose the wealth of thousands, and our life is sacrificed, we…should keep smiling and be cheerful keeping our faith in God and Truth.

It took the wealth of millions to cover the construction costs of that Gloomy Gus eyesore statue, but if your life is sacrificed how can you keep smiling?  You’d be dead!   Also keeping faith in God and Truth is mutually exclusive.  You don’t keep faith in Truth.  This statement is just another way of saying that failure doesn’t matter.   But failure most certainly does matter.  If you crash your car or lose your life savings the consequences are real and they are devastating.  Those are things to be avoided by anyone but a fool. 

Vallabhbhai Patel wasn’t a great thinker, that much is clear, and he looked like a senior citizen who had just dropped his ice-cream cone.  If they had wanted to memorialize him perhaps naming an elementary school in his honor would’ve been more appropriate.  But it wasn’t my five hundred million dollars they spent on this project and so who am I to express dissatisfaction?   Perhaps as an American I’m just resentful in having my country eclipsed in the all important Mega Monument race.  To the people of India, I say, congratulations!   My complements on the completion of your newest Mega Monument.  It sure is big and I really do mean big.  We’re talking world class really really big here!

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